Mall or nothing: Nokia and Yahoo extend partnership to indoor mapping

Yahoo has extended its mapping alliance with Nokia, bringing indoor mapping to its service.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Yahoo has launched indoor maps for shopping malls, train stations and airports, leaning on Nokia Here to help its mapping capabilities compete with Google Maps and Microsoft's Bing.

Yahoo debuted its indoor mapping service for maps.yahoo.com yesterday, which includes the layout of shops and other businesses in public spaces such as shopping malls, train stations, airports and sports stadiums.

"The maps are currently available from your computer and include the layout for building levels, an interactive building directory, and contact information for many interior businesses," said Fred Benz, Yahoo's director of product management.

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A shopping mall in Stockholm. Image: Yahoo Maps.

As Nokia highlights, indoor mapping can be useful to help find facilities such as cash machines and toilets and the company has expanded the total "building" count on Nokia Maps to over 75,000 — up from 4,605, when the service launched in 2012. Buildings though are different to venues. Six months ago Nokia had covered 9,000 venues, consisting of 50,000 buildings.

Google, which just launched indoor maps in India, claims to have some 10,000 venues covered, which are based on floor plans uploaded by its Indoor Maps partners.

Yahoo Maps are already already built on Nokia's Here mapping technology, following a mapping deal the pair inked in 2010, so the addition indoor mapping seems like a logical extension of that.

Microsoft also uses Nokia's Venue maps for its Bing indoor maps, while Qualcomm has been using Venue to improve indoor location technology in some of its chipsets.

For Nokia, once its devices business is transitioned to Microsoft, Here maps will be one of its three core businesses, along with Advanced Technologies and NSN.   

Here will be one of the three units — along with NSN and Advanced Technologies — that will make up Nokia once its devices unit is sold to Microsoft later this year.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Here's sales grew to €225m, up 10 percent year-on-year. Nokia's Advanced Technologies unit, which will handle the company's massive mobile patent portfolio, is expected to earn the company around €600m a year. 

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